Beto O'Rourke Discusses Viral NFL Kneeling Video on 'Ellen'

"Yeah, some people were upset, and I tried to say at the outset of the answer — listen, you can come to a different conclusion on this. It doesn’t make you any less American," the Texas Senate candidate says of his opinion.

Democratic Senate candidate Beto O'Rourke dropped by The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Wednesday to discuss a number of topics, including a mini speech he gave about his feelings on NFL players who kneel during the National Anthem — a moment that went viral. 

O'Rourke, who is running to replace Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), told host Ellen DeGeneres he was merely speaking his mind when asked during a campaign stop in his home state how he felt about players who kneel in an effort to protest African-American inequality in America. The issue has polarized the nation. O'Rourke not only said he was fine with the nonviolent protesting, but he also says he believes it is patriotic. 

"Yeah, some people were upset, and I tried to say at the outset of the answer — listen, you can come to a different conclusion on this. It doesn’t make you any less American," O'Rourke told DeGeneres of those who didn't like his response. "But it’s hard to think of a major or important or significant change that we’ve made as a country that wasn’t painful, that didn’t require these difficult conversations."

He added, "These unguarded moments with one another ultimately produce change and progress in the right direction. And so, I hope, in some small way, we’ve contributed to that in the conversation that we’ve had that’s been shared now. And also, in this campaign that we’re running, not against anyone, not against a political party, but for this country at this moment of truth. This moment will define us I feel forever." 

Cruz has attacked O'Rourke's stance on the issue a number of times and even went after stars who shared the video of his opponent, even if he was not mentioned in the social media post. 

President Donald Trump, who has made the kneeling issue one of his main talking points when firing up his base, has said he will campaign in Texas for Cruz, a move which DeGeneres found to be somewhat comical since Trump bashed Cruz a number of times in interviews and on the president's favorite form of communication, Twitter. 

Watch O'Rourke on Ellen above.